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World champ Florence wants Fanning back

AAP logoAAP 25/10/2016 Ed Jackson

Newly crowned world surfing champion John John Florence cannot wait to tackle a refreshed Mick Fanning when he defends his title next year.

Florence, long touted as a world champion, realised his potential by claiming this year's title with victory in the Portugal Pro at Peniche on Tuesday.

The 24-year-old's win comes in the same year where Fanning has only competed in five events on the World Surf League tour after an emotionally draining 2015.

Fanning's year has included a remarkable win at Jeffreys Bay in South Africa - the same location where he was attacked by a shark during the final of the 2015 event.

The three-time world champion defeated Florence in the final of that event and the Hawaiian says he would love to have Fanning back on the tour in 2017.

"He's such a great surfer and especially in competitive surfing," Florence told AAP.

"He's one of the guys who has inspired me the most over the past year just watching how he surfs his heats and watching his approach.

"I've learned a lot from him and it'll be really fun to have him back on tour and just kind of learn from him some more."

Florence's title win is the third time in as many years the men's surfing championship has gone to a first-time winner.

Brazilian pair Gabriel Medina and Adriano de Souza claimed the 2014 and 2015 titles after elder statesmen Fanning, Kelly Slater and Joel Parkinson had shared the championship among themselves since Andy Irons' 2004 success.

Matt Wilkinson, who won the opening two events of the year, is the leading Australian on this year's tour with Julian Wilson (6th) also ahead of 35-year-old Parkinson (8th).

Florence says the rise of surfing's next generation was exciting and made for a more competitive championship.

"The last three years things have been changing," Florence said.

"Kelly is still winning events on tour. Joel's still surfing amazing. Mick's still one of the best surfers, he won J-Bay this year like it was nothing.

"Those guys are definitely still very much in it but it's cool to see the younger guys really making a run for it."

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